Ashley Jensen Calls Childbirth 'A Great Leveler'

11/25/2009 at 06:00 PM ET
Francis Specker/Landov

Motherhood has given Ashley Jensen “a real respect for womankind,” the 40-year-old actress tells the Independent in her first interview since welcoming son Francis ‘Frankie’ Jonathan, 5 weeks. “Giving birth is amazing, and such a great leveler.” She elaborates,

“It doesn’t matter who you are — whether you’re Mrs. Beverly Hills with your Botox, or someone living in a caravan in Idaho. You both go through that.”

Likewise, most moms will find themselves bleary-eyed and shell-shocked by the rigors of caring for a newborn and Ashley has been no exception. Conceding that she’s “stumbling from day-to-day,” Ashley — who is breastfeeding — singles out “getting to grips with feeding and not sleeping” as the hardest parts of motherhood thus far.

Setting up a routine has been beneficial, however. “It’s very all-consuming,” she notes. “I had to feed him before I came out, which is why I was a little bit late, even though he wasn’t really due for a feed.” She candidly adds,

“And now I’m worried about whether my breasts are going to start lactating! You can’t be away from him for too long.”

Already back on the set of Accidentally on Purpose, her new CBS sitcom, Ashley says that the transition to working motherhood was made easier by the network and by her costar Jenna Elfman. “I’ve got a dressing room so I can take my little boy in with me,” Ashley points out. “And it’s great on set because Jenna is pregnant too. She’s about to have her second child in March.”

While Jenna’s pregnancy was written into the show, Ashley — who worked up until the week before Frankie’s birth — says hers was not. “It was a case of hiding behind a series of giant handbags and flower arrangements,” she says.

When asked whether she and husband Terence Beesley have considered the possibility of Frankie growing up with an American accent, Ashley jokes: “That is a worry, let’s face it.” She goes on to note, however, that baby boy will “probably have a mixed-up accent anyway,” citing her Scottish and Terence’s English heritage. The observation leads her to reveal,

“One of the biggest changes for me has been that I have started thinking about the future more. You have to. If we do stay in LA, we were thinking that perhaps he could go to the French School, which is a great school with a European influence. But then we thought, ‘Hang on, he’s only four weeks old!'”

Source: Independent

— Missy

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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CelebBabyLover on

I wonder if the “French School” in LA that Ashley referred to is the Lycee Francias that Maddox Jolie-Pitt attended (I say attended because I am unsure whether he still does or not)?

ecl on

Except that Mrs. Beverly Hills schedules a c-section

Elby on

She wants to be careful assuming he’ll get a mixed up accent. I’m a proper Scots and my husband’s from the Valleys but our kids all have real softy Southern English accents, if people didn’t know better they’d think the two of us were English as well.

CelebBabyLover on

ecl- With all due respect, that is a HUGE, and IMO unfair, generalization. We don’t even know how Ashley gave birth, but going by her comments it sounds like she had a vaginal birth.

As for other celebs, quite a few actually have vaginal births. Nicole Richie (with Harlow anyway. I don’t think she’s ever spoken about Sparrow’s birth), Molly Ringwald (with BOTH her older daughter and her twins!), Geena Davis (like Molly, with BOTH her older daughter and her twins!), Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes, and Heidi Klum (with her first three, anyway. I don’t think anything’s been said about what kind of birth she had with Lou, but I’m guessing vaginal as well, as nothing has been said otherwise, AND it appears that Heidi was excercising soon after the birth) are just a few examples of celebs who have had vaginal births.

Of the celebs that DO have C-sections, most of them are actually medically neccesary. For example, Angelina Jolie and Gwen Stefani had C-sections with Shiloh and Kingston respectively because both babies were breech. With the twins and Zuma, I’m guessing the reason they had C-sections was because most doctors and hospitals don’t allow VBACS (and in Angie’s case, she was pregnant with twins, which makes a vaginal birth risky even when the mother hasn’t had a C-section previously).

Tori Spelling had a C-section with Liam because he went into distress (his heartrate was dropping) and her labor wasn’t progressing. With Stella, I’m guessing that a VBAC wasn’t an option due to the fact that she was born just over a year after Liam. From what I’ve read, most doctors and hospitals won’t allow VBACs for a baby born less than 2 years after the mother’s last C-section, due to the fact that it takes that long for the initial C-section scar to heal properly (and thus the risk of uterine rupture is higher than normal).

Also, of the celebs who have had purely “elective” C-sections, we have no way of knowing if, for example, the C-section was actually due to the celeb having herpes or another STD that would make a vaginal birth risky for the baby, and they (very understandably) just didn’t want to announce that to the world!

I don’t personally agree with purely elective C-sections, but I tend to get defensive when people put down C-sections in general. I was born via C-section myself. Without one, my mother and I almost certainly would have died, so I know just how fortunate we women in developed countries are to have C-sections avaliable when they’re needed! 🙂

ecl on

I don’t think you actually have any idea if any of those c-sections was medically necessary. But it is a fact that when you induce labor, you are more likely to end up needing a c-section. So the question remains, was that c-section then medically necessary? Sure, without it baby and mom might have died. But without an induced labor, labor would most likely have come along naturally and prevented more interventions. I have no problem with medically necessary c-sections. They save lives. But EVERYONE claims that their c-section was necessary. If that is the case, how can we explain the huge increase in recent years? My problem is with the increase in interventions to the point where you end up fighting them off if you don’t want them. And my only point in the first place is that rich women and poor women give birth in very different ways. Birth might have been an equalizer in the past, but not anymore.

Annie on

CelebBabyLover — just to let you know, just because babies are breech doesn’t mean that there HAS to be a c-section. Breech babies are born safely and vaginally every single day!

Also, uterine rupture post C-section is 1%. There is honestly no need (in most cases) for a woman NOT to have a VBAC.

With twins, it’s no more risky to have a vaginal birth than a C-section birth.

I was a C-section baby myself, so I am grateful for them, but in most cases they’re highly overused! Please educate yourself 🙂

Happy C. on

I think it’s great that there’s a way to “get out of” the natural misery of childbirth. Why do women want other women to suffer? Does every woman have to be dragged down to the same level? I think painkillers for childbirth are great, and I have no problem with elective c-sections. I’ve always suspected the reason other women argued against those things was because they feel we should all be “leveled” by labor pains. Nope, not me, I’m never going to suffer unnecessarily for “sisterhood”.

Ruthella on

I love Ashley! She grew up very near me, and always comes across as so down-to-earth 🙂

I agree that c-sections are overused these days. Of course they are sometimes necessary, but often they are not. And to be honest, I’d rather hear a celeb telling the truth and saying that they just didn’t fancy giving birth, than to hear the excuses of ‘I’m just too small’ or whatever.

Again, I’m not talking about all c-sections, but let’s be honest, a good few are for vanity/convenience reasons.

CelebBabyLover on

Happy C.- I’m not against elective C-sections because I think women should have to go through labor pains (for the record, I’m not against pain killers, either. Personally I’m a big believer in natural childbirth, but I don’t think it’s bad or wrong to use pain medication, either.). I’m against them because they are risky for babies! Studies have shown that babies have a slightly higher risk of dying during or just after an elective C-section than during or just after a vaginal birth (obviously this is referring to vaginal births with no complications, such as the baby being breech).

Also, babies born via C-section are more likely to have respritory problems at birth (because the fluid in the lungs doesn’t get pushed out during a C-section birth like it does during a vaginal birth).

There are other risks too, as well as risks to the mother, but I can’t remember what they are at the moment.

Annie- I know it isn’t usually any riskier to have a vaginal birth with twins than a C-section. What I was referring to is that it’s probably riskier to have a VBAC with twins than with a single baby.

I also am well aware that breech babies can sometimes be delivered naturally. My own mother was breech and born vaginally. The point I was trying to make is that most doctors and a lot of hospitals no longer allow VBACs, even if a woman wants one (mostly due, I think, to fears about being sued for malpractice if something goes wrong during a VBAC).

Speaking of which, I think that’s a huge part of the reason why there has been such an increase in C-sections in recent years. Not only do most doctors and a lot of hospitals no longer allow VBACs, but a lot of doctors won’t even consider a vaginal birth for twins, even if the mother hasn’t had any C-sections previously.

I think another big part of the increase is that there has also been an increase in the number of induced labors in recent years. As ecl said, induced labors are more likely to lead to C-sections than non-induced labors. Certainly the fact that more women are having C-sections for purely elective reasons is part of the increase in C-sections, but I believe it’s a very small part.

Bottomline: C-sections are major abdominal surgery. My father had emergancy major abdominal surgery a month ago, and after seeing what it did to him (he’s fine now, luckily, but his recovery was anything but easy!), I cannot understand why anyone would actually CHOOSE to have major abdominal surgery!

CelebBabyLover on

And ecl, what I was really trying to say in my first post is that I think it’s unfair to basically assume that every mother in Hollywood schedules a C-section.

CelebBabyLover on

Annie- I just re-read my first comment, and you’re right, I DID say that a vaginal birth with twins is risky even if the mother hasn’t had a C-section. What I meant by that is that vaginal twin births DO carry at least a slightly higher risk than vaginal singleton deliveries. 🙂

Ruthelle- Sometimes, “I’m too small,” isn’t an excuse. Some women really ARE too small to give birth vaginally, especially if the baby is very big.

Bottomline: Some women can succesfully deliver a 10 pound or heavier baby vaginally, while others are unable to push out even a 6 pounder. Every woman is different!

Patrice on

I would be inclined to agree with Ashley, but the only difference is that most of those “botoxed, Beverly Hills moms” choose to have elctive c-sections to avoid going through the “trauma” of giving birth, and sometimes, even (horribly) they have their sections weeks early to “avoid getting fat”. I know this first hand as I ahve had the disadvantage of working with some of these women. To each their own, but it makes me really sad and shame on any doctors out there who do this.

Mams Mom on

CelebBabyLover, you have way too much time on your hands…to have all this information about the lives of these people, is a little frightening to me…

CelebBabyLover on

Mams Mom- I happen to like celeb babies, and I also happen to have an extremely good memory. So that’s why I “have all this information about the lives of these people”….I read CBB and PEOPLE Magazine (in fact, I subscribe to the latter!), so I obviously read about celeb pregnancies and biths….and I simply tend to remember most of what I read. 🙂 I assure you that I am not in anyway trying to stalk celebs! 🙂

stephanie on

lol, CelebBabyLover, I’m with you. I remember lots of celebrity stuff and I don’t even read celebrity magazines anymore and and CBB are the only celeb websites that I visit. I’m definitely not a refresh-Perez-every-five-minutes stalker, some of us just have great memory when it comes to useless celeb trivia, haha 😀